Sweetpotato Basics

‘Beauregard’ sweetpotato roots have a light rose skin, orange flesh, and a consistent shape.

‘Beauregard’ sweetpotato roots have a light rose skin, orange flesh, and a consistent shape.
Barbara Smith, ©2016 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Selecting & Storing

  • Look for firm, well-shaped sweetpotatoes with clean, smooth skins. Avoid any that have soft spots or bruises. Do not refrigerate sweetpotatoes. Refrigeration temperatures can cause dark spots and off-flavors.
  • Store them in a dry, well-ventilated place.
  • See HGIC 1322, Sweetpotato for specific information on harvesting, curing, and long-term storage.

Cooking Sweetpotatoes

  • For baking: prick the skin. Bake at 400°F for 40-50 minutes until soft.
  • For boiling: place whole sweetpotatoes in boiling water for 30-45 minutes. Times vary based on size.
  • For microwave: for one 8-ounce sweetpotato, prick the skin and microwave for 4-6 minutes on high power.

Freezing Sweetpotatoes

Wash potatoes to remove any grit and debris. Cook the potatoes until fork tender using one of the following methods: boiling water, steam, pressure cooker, or oven. Let the potatoes rest at room temperature until cool. Remove peel, cut in halves, slice into rounds, or mash.

To prevent darkening:

  • For whole, peeled sweetpotatoes, dip whole (or sliced) potatoes for 5 seconds in a solution of ½ cup lemon juice to 1 quart of water.
  • Mashed sweetpotatoes- Mix 2 tablespoons of orange or lemon juice into each quart of mashed sweetpotatoes. Pack into freezer-proof containers, leaving ½ inch headspace: seal, label, and freeze.

Canning Sweetpotatoes

Per canner load of 9 pints, use an average of 11 pounds of potatoes. Wash well, then boil medium-sized potatoes for 15-20 minutes until partially soft. Cool the potatoes only enough to handle and remove the skins. Cut if needed, so potato pieces are uniform in size. CAUTION: Do not mash or pureé pieces.

Fill hot jars with hot potato pieces, leaving 1-inch headspace. If desired, add 1 teaspoon of salt per quart jar. Cover with your choice of fresh boiling water or syrup. For a light syrup, use 1 cup sugar per quart of water. Leave 1-inch headspace. Wipe jar rims and adjust lids. At altitudes up to 1,000 feet, process at 11 pounds pressure in a dial-gauge pressure canner or 10 pounds pressure in a weighted-gauge canner. Process pints for 65 minutes and quarts for 90 minutes.

Sweetpotato Pie

Makes one 9-inch pie.

Cook 2 pounds (3 or 4 fresh medium potatoes) by baking or boiling. When cool enough to handle, peel sweetpotatoes or scoop out the flesh. Purée flesh in a food processor with 2 tablespoons of melted butter or margarine.

In a mixing bowl, combine ¾ cup sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ¾ teaspoon ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon ground cloves, and ½ teaspoon grated lemon peel. Add the sweetpotato mixture and mix well. Beat in 3 eggs. Mix in 12 ounces of evaporated skim milk until well blended. Pour the mixture into a 9-inch pastry shell. Bake in a preheated 400 °F oven for 40 to 50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.



Originally published 10/01

If this document didn’t answer your questions, please contact HGIC at or 1-888-656-9988.

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